Temple Expansion & New Temple Construction

Expansion Updates

 

Construction Update

 
The Shiva Murugan Temple of Concord
CSMT
is excited to share that after careful negotiations and due consideration,
we are ready to sign the contract with our GC
in preparation to start the construction immediately.

 


We have wonderful news to share with you! With the Divine Blessings of Lord SivaMurugan, we are about to sign the contract with the GC! We have negotiated the contract carefully and with due diligence. 
 

Introduction of GC


Annual Gala Fundraiser Dinner, December 1st, 2018:
We introduced the GC in person at our 3rd Annual Gala Fundraiser Dinner to the 450 guests assembled.
 The Gala Dinner guests are devotees of our temple, donors, dignitaries and steering committee members. 

MOU Signed:
We signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Calwest Constructions in December 2018. We also announced via email Newsletter to our devotees in December 2018.


Vaasthu Puja:
We invited all CSMT devotees to attend the Vaasthu Puja performed by the General Contractor, the Architect and the Structural Engineer on January 26th, 2019.
 Invitations to the Vaasthu Puja were sent to all CSMT devotees using email Newsletter, Posters and Social Media such as WhatsApp and Facebook. We had a very happy and successful Vaasthu Puja attended by approximately 2000 devotees, many steering committee members and dignitaries like the Mayor of Concord, the Vice Mayor and City Council Members and Planning Commission Members. The Silanyasa Puja was performed in the North East corner or Easanya Moola of the proposed New Temple Building. Everyone present got to place their offering in the Silanyasa Puja and participate personally and were transported with joy at the unique and rare opportunity. The devotees were disciplined and courteous to each other and waited patiently in line for their turn to enter the Silanyasa and offer their prayers.


There are only 8 Vaasthu days in a calendar year. We captured the very first since the weekend date was convenient to many of our devotees to participate. We started, as always, with the auspicious Ganesha Homa the previous day. We introduced the GC, the Architect and the Structural Engineer to all devotees present and to the City Council on January 26th.

There has been heavy rain in the past two months which, while wonderful for the Bay Area drought conditions, is not conducive to starting construction. However, you may now expect to see work commence on the site imminently.


Brief History of Selection of GC 


Referrals & Recommendations:
While the Architect & Stapathi are chosen by referrals and recommendations, the General Contractor is selected using aBidding Process.
 However, we wanted recommendations on GCs to invite for the Bidding process. For many years now, we have requested devotees to recommend GCs to the temple, if they are familiar with any. Such requests were made at gatherings of devotees in the temple, in several Steering Committee Meetings, in the Annual Gala Dinners and other occasions. We received one initial recommendation from a devotee, who is a Steering Committee Member, at the 2nd Annual Gala.

Meeting, July 16th, 2018:
We invited the recommended GC along with 15 other GCs to meet the  Construction Advisory Committee (CAC) members at the Architect's office on July 16th, 2018.


The Architect, the Structural Engineer and the members of the CAC recommended General Contractor companies that would be suitable to the temple project. 

Selection Criteria for the GC: 
The following were a few of the criteria we looked for in the General Contractor:
Capacity to bond for 10-15 million dollars
Prior experience with projects in this range
Experience building temples or similar ornate structures
Experience with Construction for Non-Profit Organizations
Demonstrable experience and comfort with Steel & Concrete structures, not limited to Woodframe Construction
Willingness to work in cooperation with the Stapathi & Indian Craftsmen
Good Financial Standing & Track Record in the Industry

Of the 16 GC firms invited to meet us in person, many turned us down due to the complexity of the project and their own busy schedules. Seven met with us on July 16th, 2018, and were invited to bid after we vetted their portfolios and asked them for their experience (as above), referrals, etc. After interviewing them, we presented the specifications of the project and invited them to bid on our project. Four of the seven, (including the GC firm recommended by our devotee,) expressed their gratitude at being given the opportunity to participate but expressed their regrets due to many reasons, such as inability to focus on this complex project due to other commitments, too much complexity of the project, or other such reasons. 


Bids Received:
Three GC firms expressed their interest to continue with the proceess. One expressed that there was too much work involved in submitting a bid and offered an estimate for $22 million. The other two bids were approximately $15 and $9. Since this was completely out of the budget for the temple, the Architect then cast the net wider, outside the Bay Area. We approached GC firms in Sacramento and Tracy, Modesto, etc. However, today, GCs are so busy that we had no promising response.

Fortunately, at this time, the Architect met Mr. Rajen Patel of Calwest Constructions. The company had the special expertise we were looking for above. They also had experience in building Hindu Temple in the Bay Area. While no members of the CAC or the 2018 Board had met Mr. Rajen Patel previously, we were heartened to learn that both the Architect and the Structural Engineer as well as several of our CSMT Soma Vaara devotees, and Steering Committee Members were able to recommend him.Calwest Constructions had built many hotels and buildings for some of our CSMT devotees in the $$ range we were looking at. Our devotees recommended him strongly and also inundated Mr. Rajen Patel with their requests to take up our temple project.

Negotiations:
We have been carefully and conscientiously negotiating with Calwest Constructions for an amount that is very significantly less than the bids we were able to receive from other firms. We also looked at whether the bidding firms were able to offer Value Engineering suggestions which were acceptable to the temple.Calwest has offered Value Engineering suggestions of significance to the temple.

Quantity Surveyor:
Our independent quantity surveyor estimator also compared all the bids received by the temple and recommended Calwest's bid as the best fit and closest to his estimate. Our Quantity Surveyor comes to us with strong referrals from several presitigous projects, such as Terminal 3 of the SFO Airport.


The GC and the SE took a trip to India to meet with the Stapathi, visit his worksite in Lenavilakku and understand the intricacies of combining the Granite structures being fabricated in India with the local construction. We shared pictures of their viisit with you in the earlier emails. Based on that visit, we are further negotiating the details involved, especially regarding the phase of the cooperation between the Stapathi & the GC.

We are confident that, with the contract we are about to sign with Calwest, we will be able to build the temple within a reasonable budget given the current times and today's costs. The construction industry, especially in this area, is booming currently, as many of you may know. The CAC and the Architect are examining each and every cost carefully. The design and plans of the temple and annex building with dining hall and auditorium, are not only carefully tailored to the temple's needs, but also have to dovetail with the approval of the City of Concord's Design Review Board and the Planning Commission. We are in a limited space on Second Street and we are building to the best possible design in that limited space. The intention is to construct the two buildings, for the most part, as a turnkey project.


Qualifications of the CAC:
The CAC is composed of five extremely qualified people in the Construction industry and two Board Members. We are extremely fortunate to have them volunteer for the temple and have introduced them on stage with pride and joy at several gatherings, during Steering Committee Meetings of the temple and Annual Galas. They are experts with many years of experience and a wide and varied expertise of the Construction Industry with special reference to the Bay Area. The CAC also has experience in building temples, among other non-profit experience.

Construction Attorney:
Our AIA contract with the GC is being reviewed by the temple's Construction Attorney to ensure that the contract is in the best interests of the temple. The Construction Attorney is an expert in this field.

 

Interior of the Temple

The temple's interior continues to progress in Lenavilakku, India. We will keep giving you pictures as the progress continues. Currently, the craftsmen are almost at the finishing stage of carving the "flowers" on the pieces of the SivaMurugan Sanctum. The work has commenced on the four auxilliary sanctums and has proceeded to about 30% complete.

For those of you who did not see it earlier, we repeat a short video explanation by Stapathi Dakshinamoorthy on how the carving is done, please see the video below. Our Architect Sharad Lal was so appreciative of the artistry demonstrated by the Stapathi & his men in the video.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jggm-MfvRGY 


We have attached some pictures here, sent to us by the Stapathi.




The quarry stones have been procured for the auxilliary sanctumsand are filling up the yard in the Lenavilakku worksite. The big boulders weigh as much as 18 - 20 tons before they are cut down to the required size for our sanctums. There is a careful marking of each stone as it cut down into slabs. The marking system identifies the sanctum, the layer number and the position of each stone in the layer even on the rough cut slabs!







We shared the above pictures of the visit of the GC and SE to the Lenavilakku Worksite in the Construction Newsletter dated January 2019. Our Stapathi is pictured explaining the process to them.




Trial Jointing is a trial fitting of the pieces of each layer to make sure that everything fits exactly as it should. In order to perform the requisite trial jointing for Sri SivaMurugan Sanctum, a platform with the correct dimensions (slightly bigger than the proposed Sanctum) has been laid in a corner of the worksite, with a foundation of approximately 5 feet. This foundation is required in order to be able to bear the weight of the stone slabs. The pieces that belong to each layer are brought to the platform and assembled according to the marking system.

The craftsmen actually sand down each slab to the correct millimeter to make sure it fits correctly! This will make the task of assembly in Concord that much easier.

You can see how complete and polished the layer looks when it is fully (trial) assembled with all the slabs sanded correctly to the millimeter and assembled with no gaps. 

 

With the Blessings of the Divine Sri Shiva Murugan, at current time, we are in a position to start construction in Concord with no further delays !!! Within a few months of starting on site, devotees will be able to see the interior sanctums arrive in Concord! 
Om Nama Shivaya!
Om Saravan Bhava!
Arohara! Arohara!